Son of former police chief Ben Gethi to build Runda mall

An artist’s impression of Rosslyn Riviera. (Inset) Peter Gethi. PHOTOS | COURTESY
An artist’s impression of Rosslyn Riviera. (Inset) Peter Gethi. PHOTOS | COURTESY 

The son of former powerful police commissioner Ben Gethi is constructing a multi-million shilling shopping mall in Runda targeting affluent residents of the area.

Dubbed Rosslyn Riviera, the mall is being set up on a 4.5-acre land along Limuru Road, next to Centum’s upcoming Two Rivers shopping complex.

Mr Peter Gethi has major interests in real estate and is also a director of several Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed companies.

“The development is informed by the same story of rising consumer spending by the growing middle class,” said Mr Gethi in an interview.

“However, ours is different because it is styled as a neighbourhood mall,” he added.

The shopping complex is within reach of Runda, Rosslyn, Kigwaru, and Ruaka residents.

He declined to reveal the cost of the project, which real estate experts estimate could top Sh2 billion depending on the scale of the construction and quality of finishing, and also after factoring the value of land in the prime location.

Mr Gethi said he is building the over 157,380 square feet complex on land inherited from his father, a powerful figure in the Moi government who owned coffee plantations in the area.

The senior Gethi was appointed police commissioner by President Moi in November 1978, augmenting his career as a civil servant and businessman.

Mr Gethi teamed up with Moi and other notable personalities like former Attorney-General Charles Njonjo and former head of Civil Service Jeremiah Kiereini in acquiring substantial stakes in public companies.

The individuals, through the Africa Liaison & Consultant Services (Alico), made investments in Credit Finance Corporation, Barclays Bank, and Heritage Insurance, among others.

Mr Gethi, however, fell out of favour with the former president who sacked and detained him for days in the wake of the August 1982 coup, an incident that fuelled mistrust of key government officials at the time. He passed on in 1994.

His son Peter is a director of some of the entities where Alico invested, including Heritage Insurance, Liberty Holdings, and CfC Stanbic Holdings. He has several residential properties, with Rosslyn Riviera being one of his largest commercial projects.

The mall is scheduled to open its doors in March 2016 and has already signed up major local and international retailers. Chandarana Supermarket, an Asian family business, will be the anchor tenant at the mall.

It will also host News Café, a South African brand of restaurant, cocktail bar and entertainment. Other restaurants that have signed up are German Point and Coffee Nove.

The mall has attracted fashion brands Accessorise with Style, Bianca Nero, Basic Intimates, and RAGS. Other businesses that have booked space are forex bureaus, drycleaners, and jewellers.

Rosslyn Riviera, which will have more than 350 parking bays, is designed as a family-friendly establishment where residents can frequent for shopping and fun activities.

The upcoming mall signals a rush by investors to tap the growing consumer spend in the affluent neighbourhood. It is located next to Centum’s upcoming 620,000 square-feet mall expected to be completed by October next year, with Carrefour as the anchor tenant.

Village Market, which houses Nakumatt Holdings, is also in the middle of a multibillion-shilling expansion.

The malls are targeting rich and middle class residents, including Kenyans and expatriates living in Runda, Rosslyn, Gigiri, Nyari, and Muthaiga.